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Real Progressions:


The Dance To The Music Of Time (Nicolas Poussain c.1640) -- earlier cycles above dictate our later dance below

From Leaf to Tree – Fractal Resonance Across Time

By John Townley

A physical structure of astrology based on environmental entrainment through ageless gravitational repetitions/cycles that step down serially to the individual is fairly easy to surmise. Indeed, the very orbital resonances and gravitational structures such as Lagrange points and harmonic orbital interaction are so similar to what is seen in astrology that the relationship of one to the other, from out there to down here, may seem quite obvious. At least, it seems so with the overall picture of the main planetary aspects (which likely derive from Lagrange point stability, or lack of it) and transits to the natal chart. As above, so below – at various windows of scaling, from light through music, down through infrasound and finally planetary-scale periods – would seem to be the clearly operant principle. Developing approaches to this are outlined in Toward A Physical Basis for Astrology, in The Moon On Deck, also in Windowpanes and Many Rainbows.

But the use of progressions – whether the usual secondary or less common minor, tertiary, and converse – doesn’t immediately hook in to simple gravitational models. It appears unique to astrology, and it is baffling in that it equates multiple time scales to one another, nested like matrioshkas, instead of spatial ones. In secondary progressions, where the first year of life is equated to the first day, the second to the second, and so on, inner (mostly) events of an entire real-time lifetime are summed up serially in the events of the first three months of life. Here, a diurnal return equals a solar return.

Progressions are like so many time-keyed matrioshkas, earlier mirrored in later

Although secondary progressions are the most popular there are others. In minor progressions, one lunar month after birth equals one year of life, so a lunar return in minor equals a solar return in regular time. In tertiary progressions, one day after birth equals one lunar month of life, so a diurnal return in regular time equals a lunar return in tertiary. And converse progressions, which are usually secondary-based but theoretically could use minor or tertiary, actually start with the birth and work backward in time. Aside from the arbitrary hookup of one cycle (diurnal, lunar, or solar) being equated to another, what physical basis is there in real time as we know it, or is there any at all?

The simplest, most common explanations, that progressions (secondary) represent early inner learning and development in the infant that somehow surfaces at prescribed points later in adulthood, has psychological appeal but makes no physical sense at all. The same may be said about minor and tertiary, though their periods extend further into childhood. Even if these periods do describe early childhood development as transits, how are their manifestations neatly deposited so that they manifest at specific, known times in the future according to these cycle equivalencies?

The answer may be that although the earlier celestial events may seem to precede and foreshadow the later reality, suggesting one should look for a linear before-and-after, cause-and-effect relationship, the actual situation is all of a piece, fractal, and mutually self-reflecting in what may be a multidimensional temporality. In a single, simple analogous image, the veins in the very first leaves of a single-branched sapling directly foreshadow the shape and complexity of the giant, many-branched tree that lies in the future, not because one leads to another, but because they are both part of a larger evolutionary picture. In fact, in a loose parallel to progressions, early tree branching indications can actually be used to forecast later full tree size and biomass [see fractal branch analysis]. Indeed, to be specific, “The angle between the main branches of a tree & its trunk remains constant in each species- and this same angle is found between the principal vein of the tree's leaves & all its subsidiary branching veins.”

From leaf to tree -- the shape of a leaf on a sapling maple foreshadows the final shape of the tree...progressions are similar

That, of course, works in living things where early growth often mirrors overall evolution (such as the development of the human fetus seems to mirror progressively more recent forms of life as it matures).  But astrology isn’t just about humans, or even living things. Compared to the planets, we’ve come late in the game and are, if anything, a result of their harmonies or dissonances. That very thought leads directly to what progressions most likely truly are: fractal resonance down through time, innate in the very mix of natural cycles that abide across time. There is a direct resonance between cyclical reversal of day and night, the diurnal rhythm that sets the tides, the monthly (lunar) cycle which modifies the tides, and the yearly reversal of summer and winter that sets the tides of temperature and all else that seasonally drives across the planet. Together, they make up a set of rhythms that we see clearly (the daily, monthly, yearly), the primary tonal drivers, plus the ones we don’t see so clearly, which are the interactive overtone series created by the mix.


Basic fractal structures in leaves, tree branches, and all self-similarities apply in space, and time...

It’s very much the same as the tones of a simple three-note chord on a stringed instrument. We can hear each note sounded one at a time and recognize them as such, but when sounded all together, there are a whole series of overtones that make that chord rich which we don’t easily identify at all, but which can be mathematically demonstrated or clearly shown on a recording device. They are what make the chord more than the sum of its notes, the blend that makes it swell and resonate. In a planetary system such as ours, exactly this sort of resonance occurs, gravitationally and magnetically, and it is the primary substrate of our existence. We evolved according to its rhythms and that life is most successful which most effectively surfs along its peaks and valleys – it is the very picture of our evolution, and hence the fractal similarity not only across space, from large to small, but across time, from then till now, now till then, in both the greater and the lesser.

Three simple notes (l) make a complex chord (r) -- graphs of combined planetary (and market) cycles look much the same

But back to progressions – the progress of one cycle is directly mirrored backwards and forwards by another, since they are interlinked and form integral resonant harmonics with one another, in patterns that span eons, so you will see the parallel in events that reflect the interaction well in front or behind of the specifics that generate them. Thus you would expect to hear faint, internal echoes of the shorter rhythms (diurnal and lunar) laid on like an overtone series upon the large (solar) as the years go by, with the smaller riding the larger like fluctuations on a carrier wave.

And what aspects of these should you notice most? Those
should be the full-cycle rhythms, the strongest resonant octave drivers where a reinforcing cycle completes in the smaller and echoes down through the larger: in the case of secondary progressions, these would be progressed lunations, which should then be further amplified by the transiting Saturn cycle of almost exactly the same length (29 ½ years). And that is precisely what you see in secondaries, where the most obvious events occur on the lunar cycle and its progress, and real but less obvious ones in the fractional stages of cycles that don’t complete within our lifetimes, such as progressed planetary sign changes and non-lunar progressed aspects.  

So there you have it, the essence of a physical basis for progressions, the missing key to a major astrological mystery. But you may, like most, have a hard time wrapping your head around how time itself could be fractal, or even (dare we say?) multi-dimensional -- which is essential to this physical basis for progressions, wherein resonance causes the smaller to resemble the larger not in space but in time -- like that leaf and tree analogy. Both are areas of serious discussion, in science, mathematics, business investment (!), and of course generally on the fringe. Here’s some further places to look, or just Google “fractal time” or “time fractals” for a smorgasbord of takes:

Time Triads (in trading)

Fractal Time/Space Supersymmetry – (don’t forget that all the 2012 stuff, including fractals, is based on an arbitrary starting point, which happens to dovetail at 2012. Pick another set, and it’s totally different)

Fractal Time by Susie Vrobel – one of the more rigorous science/mathematical proponents…

Fractals and Time: Not as Fluffy as You Think, Part I – nice review of the idea and writers on it.

A Fractal Topology of Time – a dissertation on the subject or watch the 9-part video

Fractal Time (blog) – a fun take from a blogger…

The Human Social Experience Forms a Fractal – An Elliott Wave expert weighs in…

Fractal Resonance a video showing how temporal acoustic resonance actually turns into a spatial fractal (something Helmholtz originated way back in the 19th century)

Fractal Scaling Models of Resonant Oscillations in Chain Systems of Harmonic Oscillators – Now, this is how it really works…


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